Season 1

Episode 4

When we were making the list of countries we wanted to explore in the early episodes of the podcast, Ireland was near the top of the list. If any country understands how English has been used as a colonising tool it is Ireland. Well Scotland too, but definitely Ireland.

So much of the best ‘English’ literature of the past couple of centuries comes from Ireland. It is a rich source of beautifully written literature from a country that has suffered great hardship. This is the country that gave us Seamus Heaney, W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, Brian Friel and James Joyce, just to mention a few.

John is an English teacher in Ireland. Dublin to be exact. When he was at college he set up an education consultancy to help pay the bills, he gave tuition and created study aids. This eventually led him into the high school classroom. Currently, while teaching, he provides resources to over 500 schools in Ireland as well as many overseas. He has been doing this for over a decade which makes him one of the first educators to see the benefits of the internet.

He joins us to explore the history that has informed Irish culture, while introducing some new names to add to our reading lists.


Carolyn Newall


John Ryan

John spoke about many well known Irish writers and introduced us to some new ones. Here is a list with links. A couple of the poems are given in full on the transcripts page.

  • James JoyceThe Dubliners, Ullysses.
  • Roddy Doyle – Dublin sense of humour
    The Commitments, The Van, The Snapper – All made into films.
  • Brian Friel
  • Translations
    Dancing at Lughnasa
    Philadelphia, Here I Come!
  • Brian Patrick Friel has been considered one of the greatest living English-language dramatists. He has been likened to an “Irish Chekhov” and described as “the universally accented voice of Ireland”.
  • Sally Rooney
    Normal People – Novel – 2018
    A critically acclaimed and Emmy nominated television adaptation of the same name aired from April 2020.
  • Patricia Burke Brogan
  • Eclipsed
  • Saoirse Ronan,
  • Actress  Brooklyn
  • Hiberno-English (from Latin Hibernia: “Ireland“) or Irish English is the set of English dialects natively written and spoken within the island of Ireland (including both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland).
  • Sinn Féin is one of the two largest parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly,  It is the largest Irish nationalist party, and it holds four ministerial posts in the power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive as of 2020. In the UK House of Commons, Sinn Féin holds seven of Northern Ireland’s 18 seats, making it the second-largest bloc after the DUP; there it follows a policy of abstentionism, refusing to sit in parliament or vote on bills. In the Oireachtas (the parliament of the Republic of Ireland), Sinn Féin currently sits as the main opposition and the second largest party having won the largest share of first-preference votes at the 2020 Irish general election

More Episodes

Season 1, Episode 1 | 38 min

We Teach Well co-founders Carolyn and Judy introduce the World Lit podcast and their reasons for creating it.


Season 1, Episode 2 Gwee Sui Li - Singapore 45 mins

Gwee Sui Li, a poet and educator from Singapore joins us to talk about Singapore literature.


Season 1, Episode 3 Angela Tutty - New Zealand Part 1 | 43 mins

Angela Tutty, a New Zealand teacher joins us to talk about New Zealand literature.


Season 1, Episode 3 Angela Tutty - New Zealand Part 2 | 41 mins

We are with Angela Tutty again, learning more about New Zealand  literature.


Season 1, Episode 4 John Ryan - Ireland | 42 mins

Irish teacher, John Ryan joins us to explore the history that has informed Irish culture, while introducing some new names to add to our lists.


Season 1, Episode 5 Milton Villarroel - Bolivia | 47 mins

A fascinating look at Latin American and Bolivian culture and history with Bolivian Educator Milton Villarroel. This one has given me a few more books to read and a couple of people to chase down. Milton has already done work on cultural signifiers, what Edward T Hall calls The Secret Language.


Season 1, Episode 6 Jeffrey Weingarten - Canada | 49 mins

We are joined by Professor Jeffrey Weingarten from Canada who takes us for an entertaining walk through Canada's literary history. We also hear about Canada's colonial past. And their is an interesting side discussion about how we manage 'difficult' in the 21st C